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What advice would you give Romney?

Mitt Romney’s campaign is in trouble.  The polls, nationwide, but especially in the swing states, are moving slowly, but steadily in the President’s direction.  Just a month ago it seemed like Mitt Romney’s election to lose and now that seems to be what he is doing.  Remarkably, for a man who has been centered and focused in all he has done in his life the Republican candidate seems lost.  However, there is still a month to go in this campaign and a lot can happen.  History has proven that.  Having said that, I am not going to offer the GOP candidate any advice, instead, I asked a number of people, several strong Romney supporters, some hardcore Democrats, and at least one person who isn’t sure how they’re going to vote, what advice they would personally give Mitt Romney.  Just as if they were on the phone talking to him.    

Read more: What advice would you give Romney?

The Enthusiasm Gap

For the Democrats 2008 was one of the most exciting campaigns in the party’s history. Their candidate was the first African American to lead a national ticket and his popularity and his oratory were the stuff that made the political juices flow. The enthusiasm that then-Senator Obama could generate was hard to match. Local Democratic chairs were awash with volunteers wanting to help Obama. It got to the point that at my local headquarters volunteers using their own cell phones had to sit on the front steps of the headquarters offices, or out in their cars, in order to make calls to prospective voters. There simply wasn’t enough room inside.

Read more: The Enthusiasm Gap

What Sequestration Means to Us

It’s called Sequestration.  You’ve seen the term in dozens of articles.  It’s been talked about on Fox, CNN, and all the other major news organizations.  But, what, exactly, does sequestration mean, and a fair question, “why should I care?”  It sounds like just another invented government word that only someone in the Washington establishment is likely to understand.  Normally, I would say, yes, that’s about it, but in this case, sequestration has the potential of substantially impacting government operations.  And this could include spending and jobs in our area. 

Sequestration, strangely enough, is not a new term.  It was first used in a long forgotten budget cutting bill enacted in the 1980’s called “Gramm Rudman Hollings.”  This legislation was created to deal with what was then considered an astronomical deficit of $2 Trillion.  What it did was to apply cuts to existing programs across the board.  Alas, it wasn’t that effective a tool.  Congress, and President Reagan were enacting bigger and bigger budgets and sequestration, which was much smaller than the increases, just couldn’t keep up.

Read more: What Sequestration Means to Us

When there is no middle ground in politics

There is, or at least there was, an old rule of thumb when it came to national politics. It wasn’t particularly formal, but I heard it repeated enough, and saw it validated enough, that it seemed like a pretty good generalization.  The rule dealt with the size and loyalty of the Democratic and Republican base. Namely, that roughly 35% of the voters can be guaranteed to support one party while another 35%, give or take, will support the other party. That took care of about 70% of the voters. However, the remainder, roughly 30%, though some might lean one way or the other, were the independents, and were the votes both parties fought for during the general election.  

Read more: When there is no middle ground in politics

A lesson from history: Negative ads work

Of all the hundreds of TV advertisements that will run this fall it’s estimated that more than 80% of them will be negative. Of course, there is nothing new in negative campaigning. Each election cycle, we carry on as if it’s a new horror of the American political system, but it’s not. Negative campaigning has been around since the beginning of the republic. They didn’t have television or radio back then, but ask Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln about negative campaigns, then, in the form of fliers, and editorials, and they will know exactly what you’re talking about. 

Read more: A lesson from history: Negative ads work

What recovery? Where? When?

It’s an open question.  Namely, is the great recession really over?  Economists will tell you, yes it is.  The economy has been growing, albeit minimally for several years now.  They call that a recovery.  Unfortunately, the reality is that it sure doesn’t feel like one.  Whether you’re in the Northern Neck, Southern California, or Texas, businesses are still closing, and jobs remain scarce.

The number most economists cite in discussing the health of the economy is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  That’s the sum total of everything we buy, sell, and save in the United States.  And yes, it’s been growing at a rate of about 2%.  But, while technically a recovery, because it’s increasing, it’s still the weakest rebound in 60 years.  For there to be any real improvement in our economic conditions, in terms of business activity and jobs, the rate of GDP growth would have to at least double. 

Read more: What recovery? Where? When?

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